Fibre to the home: cooperation takes shape

Bern, 05.02.2010 - The participants at the fifth Round Table on fibre-optic development discussed the models for cooperation which have recently arisen and took note of the progress in the discussions in the working groups which have been set up. The principles decided at previous round tables are being efficiently implemented in order to prevent duplication of infrastructure and to enable competition. One principle which is gaining acceptance is that the network operators will meet the FTTH installation costs for buildings, rather than their owners. This will accelerate the development of fibre-optic networks.

For the fifth time, the Federal Communications Commission (ComCom) has invited heads of Swiss companies active in the telecommunications market to a Round Table.  Various cooperation models with Swisscom which have arisen over the last few months regarding the construction of fibre-optic networks in large towns were discussed. The co-operative contracts concluded will see around 20% of households in Switzerland connected to the FTTH network.

The participants welcomed the progress in the discussions between the parties as well as the work in the working groups coordinated by the Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM). The technical standards in particular were progressed and contractual issues involving network operators and building owners could be clarified.

At the Round Table it was decided to launch a common operating platform in a pilot project. Service providers can therefore develop the ordering procedures in a uniform manner. As a result of a uniform interface which is compatible with the existing network operators’ platforms, customers will have the possibility to change their provider quickly.

As a result of this cooperation between telecommunications service providers, electricity companies and cable network operators based on the multiple fibre model and common technical standards, the goal of preventing parallel construction of new fibre networks is a step closer. This means that customers will still have freedom to choose between different service providers. 

Fibre to the Home (FTTH)
Fibre to the Home (FTTH) describes a telecommunications network which extends via fibre-optic cable into every business, multiple dwelling or family home. Optical fibre is a well-proven transmission medium for high data rates and will be necessary in the next few years as access networks evolve, because the old copper cables will no longer be adequate to meet the growing demand for high bandwidths for internet applications, especially high-definition television. 

In autumn 2008, ComCom decided to conduct discussions with market players about this form of development; in this way it wishes to prevent the creation of monopolies which make access more difficult for other telecommunications providers and obstruct competition At the same time, network construction must take place as efficiently as possible, to allow economically appropriate investment.


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